Notes: Aceves, Reyes take care of visa issues

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Notes: Aceves, Reyes take care of visa issues

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pitchers Alfredo Aceves and Dennys Reyes took care of their visa issues at the Mexican consulate in Hermasillo Wednesday and are expected back in camp Friday.

"Everything went well,'' said Francona. "It went like we hoped it would and they'll be on the field (Friday).''

Aceves had been in camp and had thrown two side sessions before departing. Reyes had been delayed in arriving and has yet to be in camp.

"We haven't seen him,'' said Francona. "Hopefully, he's been throwing a lot. Not being in camp is certainly not an advantage. We'll have to gauge where he is and how quickly he can get into it. We'll have a little better feel as we see him throwing the next couple of days.''

The Sox will pack up their belongings at the Player Development Complex Friday afternoon and shift operations for the start of the final season at City of Palms Parks, where they play exhibition games, starting Saturday.

Two pitchers dealing with arm issues will be left behind when the team departs: Junichi Tazawa, who underwent Tommy John surgery last spring and had his first full bullpen session earlier in the week and Brandon Duckworth, whose right shoulder revealed some weakness during testing earlier in camp.

Both will continue on prescribed throwing programs.

After a day off from swinging Wednesday, Adrian Gonzalez hit off a tee Thursday, taking 36 swings. He'll repeat the same workload Friday.

"He's building up volume as he goes,'' Francona said. "He tolerated everything real well.''

Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was excused from camp with a bug which has
been going through the clubhouse. He's expected to return Friday...Francona
will be absent from camp Friday after the passing of his grandmother. Bench
coach DeMarlo Hale will run camp Friday morning, which will be cut short
to accommodate a scheduled charity golf tournament Friday afternoon.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Farrell on Sox rotation: 'We've got to get Clay going'

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Farrell on Sox rotation: 'We've got to get Clay going'

BOSTON - Maybe it wasn't a warning shot, but more of an idle observation. Maybe it wasn't a challenge at all.

But what John Farrell had to say Sunday afternoon about Clay Buchholz was, if nothing else, noteworthy.

In assessing his team's play in the just-completed first month of the season, Farrell noted that the starting rotation, after a particularly rough beginning, had stabilized of late.

With one exception, that is.

"We've got to get Clay going, particularly," Farrell said. "He's an important part of our rotation, an important part of this team. We've got to get him on track." Buchholz is winless in his five starts, with an 0-3 mark and an inflated ERA of 6.51. He's given up a minimum of five earned runs in each start and has yet to pitch through the seventh inning.

Farrell noted that the issue has been less about quality of stuff and more about his aggressiveness - or lack thereof.

"There are times,'' Farrell said, "when we've seen Clay execute pitches with, I think, a greater conviction to the pitch. There are other times where maybe he's pitched away from contact a little bit too much and not attacked the strike zone. To me, there comes an attitude on the mound that's got to be prevailing."

The Sox aren't far from welcoming back to starters. Eduardo Rodriguez, who tweaked his knee in early March, is set to make his second rehab start for Pawtucket Tuesday and could conceivably return five days after that. At most, Rodriguez will be ready with one more additional outing.

Next up is Joe Kelly, who is on the DL with a shoulder impingement. Kelly has thrown some bullpen sessions and could begin a rehab assignment later in the week.

That will lead to the Sox making some tough decisions in the coming weeks. It had been widely assumed that knuckleballer Steven Wright would be he most vulnerable starter, but Wright is 2-2 with a 1.37 ERA in four outings.

Asked to assess where the Sox within the context of the division, Farrell said: "We're probably searching to shore up areas that are in need, and that first starts with making the necessary adjustments with the guys that are on our roster now. Not that we're going to make wholesale changes. Like I said, we've got to get Clay going. That's a big improvement that we could make."

 

AL East picture through April: Red Sox better than expected

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AL East picture through April: Red Sox better than expected

BOSTON -- With the first month of the season at coming to a close, Boston finds itself half a game behind Baltimore for first place and 2.5 games ahead of the third place Rays.

With the question marks surrounding the pitching staff behind David Price entering the season, among other issues, the Red Sox are in a much better position than initially expected.

John Farrell credits much of the early success to his potent offense.

“[We] finished better than we started I think the biggest thing is that guys in our lineup have developed that trust in one another,” he said. “There [are] some elements to our offense that’ve been very encouraging. The all-field approach and the way we’ve run the bases [have] been very consistent.”

It’s undeniable that the newfound consistency to the pitching staff has been a huge help -- although Farrell did note Clay Buchholz needs to get the ball rolling.

“The last two turns through the rotation has been more consistent. We’ve been able to give our guys in the bullpen a little bit more regular rest,” Farrell said. “I like the fact that we’ve added to the depth of power arms in our bullpen. We still have room for improvement we know that.

Entering the final game of the opening series against New York, the Red Sox and the Orioles are the only AL East teams with winning records against their inter-division rivals.

Even though they’ve performed better than anticipated, a case can be made that the Red Sox should sit in first place.

Tampa Bay shut them out in the opener, and won the final game of the series that was powered by a rare David Price implosion.

Toronto won the final two games of the second season series by the skin of its teeth, narrowly avoiding Red Sox comebacks in the ninth inning of each game.

Baltimore won the first game of its opening series in Boston thanks to a ninth inning home run.

New York has one game left before both teams leave town and, weather permitting, Boston has a chance to start May off properly -- by disposing of the only team in the AL East stuck with single digit wins.

With the ups and downs for the five AL East teams, Farrell doesn’t expect there will be disparity in the division.

“Every team has got their strengths,” he said. “We don’t expect this to be a huge separation among any of the five teams here. We’re all probably searching to sure up areas that we’re in need of. That first starts with making the necessary adjustments with the guys that are on our roster right now. Not that we’re going to make wholesale changes.”